Keys to the
September 26, 2008
By Kevin Monroe
Houston at ECU
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008, 3:30 p.m.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville
Each week, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports
Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game,”
outlining what East Carolina must do to beat its opponent.
Monroe brings a unique perspective to the task, not only as a
member of the broadcast team, but also as a former defensive
back for the Pirates (1995-99).
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Carolina can defeat Houston if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Pressure the Quarterback
Houston has one of the best offenses in the country, averaging over 36
points and more than 400 passing yards per game. East Carolina’s front
four has been explosive at times this season, but the last two games
have been a challenge. Both Kevin Moore of Tulane and Russell Wilson of
N.C. State were able to buy enough time to find open receivers down
field. Defensive ends Zack Slate and C.J. Wilson need to show up big
versus Houston quarterback Case Keenum.
Through four games, Keenum has thrown for 16 touchdowns. The Cougars'
offensive line boasts three seniors and a junior and has allowed only 7
sacks on 216 passing attempts.
Defend the Backend
Now that you understand what the Pirates are up
against in Houston's offensive line and quarterback, you have an Idea of
just how potent this passing attack is. Keenum can’t do it by himself;
he has a number of dangerous wide receivers to choose from. The Cougars
have eight receivers with at least 10 receptions, led by senior Mark
Hafner with 30 catches and 7 touchdowns. In comparison, the Pirates have
only three receivers with at least 10 receptions.
The East Carolina secondary is young, but the majority of the principals
have a lot of game experience. The corner position has been a revolving
door all year. We have seen Jerek Hewett, Darryl Reynolds, Emanuel
Davis, Travis Simmons and Dekota Marshall all play significant snaps.
This game will separate the men from the boys in the secondary.
Mount Long Drives
The Cougars are a dangerous offensive team and present special problems
whenever they have the ball. With that in mind, the best way to slow
them down is to keep them off the field. East Carolina dominated time of
possession against Virginia Tech and West Virginia and was able to
maintain control of the game.
Patrick Pinkney will have to lead this ECU offense on solid sustained
drives to consign Keenum and Hafner to the sidelines. With the addition
of Norman Whitely in the backfield, the Pirates now have three very
capable running backs to keep the chains moving. Whitely averaged over 9
yards per carry last week and Jonathan Williams averaged over 7 yards
East Carolina hates to lose to its in-state rivals, but the loss to State
wasn’t a conference game and it quieted all the BCS talk swirling around the
team. Now the Pirates can just relax, play football and not worry about
playing for the national title. The most important goal at this point is to
win the conference. At 1-0 in the conference, ECU is in great shape.
The Cougars are averaging 36 points per game for a reason; they are really
good at what they do offensively. The Pirate defense has forced at least two
turnovers in every game this year. They will need at least two on Saturday
and they will need to win time of possession to keep Keenum off the field.
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09/26/2008 02:41:58 AM